Atlanta United writing a new theme this season

Atlanta United defender Andrew Gutman (15) fights for the ball during the match against D.C. United on Saturday at Audi Field in Washington. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta United defender Andrew Gutman (15) fights for the ball during the match against D.C. United on Saturday at Audi Field in Washington. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

WASHINGTON — Atlanta United has earned seven points from its past three games with goals in stoppage time. The most recent came in Saturday’s 1-0 victory against D.C. United, clinched with a goal by Marcelino Moreno in the 94th minute.

Whether it is karma or probability blessing the team, the outcomes are much different than last year when the team lost 13 points when it was winning or tied after the 75th minute.

“... Maybe in years past we didn't have those areas where we'd be able to roll our sleeves up and join a dogfight and come out on top. And (Saturday night) we did that."

- Atlanta United captain Brad Guzan

Captain Brad Guzan said the team believed in itself last year but the positive results didn’t happen. This season, that belief is being supplemented by a desire to keep working and keep fighting.

“... Maybe in years past we didn’t have those areas where we’d be able to roll our sleeves up and join a dogfight and come out on top,” he said. “And (Saturday night) we did that.”

Those six points – three earned with a goal in the 96th minute against Charlotte, one earned with a goal in the 92nd minute against Montreal and then Saturday’s goal by Moreno from a Brooks Lennon corner kick – moved the team to third in the East with a good chance to stay near the top in the coming weeks. It trails first-place Philadelphia by three points. It has games upcoming at Charlotte, at home against Cincinnati, at Inter Miami and at Montreal, which are among the worst teams in the East based upon points.

ExploreAtlanta United earns late win at D.C. United

Manager Gonzalo Pineda and Guzan said Saturday’s result was important, and a testament to the team’s character, because two players, Matheus Rossetto and Ozzie Alonso, had to leave with injuries. Josef Martinez was subbed off midway through the second half because Pineda felt he had given all he could after spending the past week with Venezuela for its World Cup qualifying games. Andrew Gutman, who successfully minimized the effectiveness of Julian Gressel, was noticeably dealing with different injuries. Thiago Almada was making his first start. Moreno went 90 minutes for the first time this season.

The ingredients were there for the team to fall back into 2021 mode.

The team overcame that because of its focus in training, according to Moreno, and the depth of its bench, according to Pineda.

ExploreMarcelino Moreno a surprise as scorer of Atlanta United’s game-winner

“I think it says a lot about a team that doesn’t give up that last year, I remember we gave up a lot of points at the end of the games,” Pineda said. “And now we’re doing completely the opposite. And that, for me, is a massive achievement. Because it’s not, it’s not something that comes on its own. It’s something that is watched by the players by training very hard until the end of the training session.

“They have to be there with concentration and fighting and competing. And I think sometimes these things happen, like we are scoring these type of goals at the end of the game and it makes me happy because, I mean, those are nice points to achieve at the end of the game.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 at Charlotte, 1:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN Deportes

April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., Peachtree TV

April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN

April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs. Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas